"Penguin on Ice"
Watercolor on Paper
Watercolor on Paper
I took several successive watercolor classes at the nearby Irvine Fine Arts Center. I had a terrific instructor, Marlene Gerloff, who gave us the freedom to try a wide range of techniques with a variety of subjects.
I worked on many paintings. However, there were only two I considered successful enough to frame. "Penguin on Ice" was one of the two.
"Paint animals and use a wet-into-wet technique" was the assignment on the day this picture was painted. Marlene supplied several magazine clippings of animal photos. I chose one with three penguins. To simplify my composition, I focused on one of the penguins. It sketched out quickly.
To further simplify matters, I decided to use only three colors from my palette of 26 watercolors. I chose only the secondary colors of orange (Cadmium Orange), purple (Ultramarine Violet), and green (Viridian Green). The entire painting was composed of just these three colors. Even the black feathers were made from several glazes of two or three of the colors. I was amazed at the versatility of this limited palette.
I'm told that the underside of the left wing is purple; I was shooting for gray. I would have been reticent to purposefully paint the underside purple. However, this fortunate misstep added accidental interest.
Besides wet-into-wet, I used washes, dry brush, and the aforementioned glazes.
I have yet to master the medium, but that does not diminish my enjoyment of watching wet colors spread, swirl, and blend with expected and unexpected results.
The round Quiller Palette is designed as a color wheel. Working from a color wheel and using watercolors was a manageable way to further understand color relationships. It helped me mix colors in my head - to imagine the resulting mixtures.
Furthermore, the palette and the laminated Quiller Wheel graphic allowed me to arrange my watercolors with confidence. I checked the names of the colors on my paint tubes against the names called out on the graphic. I depended a lot on the tube labels. With an Ultra Fine Point Sharpie, I carefully wrote the names on the ridge of each paint well.)